Sally Balkin from Gympie shares her story.
Sally Balkin from Gympie shares her story. Renee Albrecht

Islamic student in Gympie finds support after copping abuse

A GYMPIE woman who is studying Islam and in a relationship with a former Afghani interpreter has been met with online support after it was revealed she had encountered abuse in Gympie's CBD recently.

Sally Balkin, who is a human rights activist, told The Gympie Times last week she continues to be ostracised by members of the community, revealing her spiritual convictions were at the source of the abuse.

"People fear what they don't understand. Maybe the people that harassed her need to grow up and educate themselves on reality and kindness to fellow human beings," said Tania Jean via Facebook.

"Many of the comments have shown the hate in this world for something you don't understand. I feel very sorry for the people that have so much hate," she said.

"I would have thought she was a nanna," said Helen Smith. "Unless she said she was converting (to Islam), no one would know.

"I have personally seen two different women be abused in Gympie for wearing a head scarf," said Chad Hooper. "It wouldn't surprise me."

"How cruel people are," said Denise Hartley.

While for Linda McKeown, it was personal. "I have lived in a Muslim country and for those who have posted above (on Facebook), there is a difference between the Emirate Muslims and others. Just like there is a difference in Christian nations. Educate yourselves first. Go meet some Muslims. Best people I have met. There are extremists in every walk of life and I'm seeing some on here," she said.

Craig Rowan agreed. "Islam has an image problem caused by extremist elements but it is very unfair to brand all Muslims as a potential threat," he said.

"Neo-Nazis or other ultra right wing nationalists are not representative of mainstream western society, just as most motorcyclists are not bikies.

"Most blokes are not paedophiles and most gun owners are not mass murderers.

"If this lady (Ms Balkin) wishes to convert to Islam, she has the legal right to do so, and should not be bullied or vilified because of it.

" I'm not a fan of any religion, but people have the right to practise any religion they choose within the law.

" The "patriot blue" mugging of Sam Dastyari was a disgrace.

" Some people need to grow up and expand their world view.

"No need to be frightened of imaginings," he said.

Gympie Times

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